Winning the trust of your customers is key to success in any business, whether online or bricks and mortar. If you’re offering something unique, people are much more likely to take a chance on your product/service if they get the feeling of trustworthiness. If you’re offering something similar to a competitor, you can bet that buyers are going to opt for the seller that inspires more trust, even if it means spending a little more.
You might have a strong handshake, winning smile and incorruptible moral standards, but that counts for nothing to the prospective online customer to whom you’re no more than your online presence. That means you really have to project your principles, professionalism and reliability onto your digital store-front.
It’s true that everything you do will either inspire trust or suspicion in the mind of the customer, so it’s very difficult to provide comprehensive advice in the form of a short blog. However, here are 7 practical steps that you can take to get more customers to trust your store.
How to Get More Customers to Trust your Store
1. Your Website Design is Crucial
Many businesses rely on social media or blogs for exposure, but any serious online business will have a quality, credible ecommerce website. Attractive website design is an instant draw to customers, but poor website design will put the seeds of doubt in viewers minds just as quickly.
A shoddy, ugly homepage is the equivalent to a dusty, tasteless shop window display. Poor presentation makes you seem at best small-time or at worst dodgy.
Your website is more than an advert for your brilliant product. It is the environment in which you will be doing business with the general public. If you haven’t got a handle on something as simple as a decent website, are people going to feel comfortable plugging their bank details into your online checkout?
If you can afford the help of a web designer then you’re clearly going to be able to produce a much higher quality store. If not, there are many excellent ecommerce platforms which are accessible to first-time store owners with the help of templates, tutorials and online guides.
2. Get The Best Checkout That You Can
Store owners sometimes get a little complacent when it comes to choosing a checkout system. After all, surely by this stage of the transactions customers already trust you and are just entering a few personal details to complete their purchase?
Wrong. Finding an awesome checkout system for your site is a great way to get more customers to trust your store. You’re asking them to give you their most personal details, which means that you need a system that is suitably trustworthy. Shopping cart abandonment is incredible frustrating for store owners, and in our opinion having an ineffective checkout is something of a cardinal sin for online businesses.
Some ecommerce platforms come with outstanding checkout systems. We’ve waxed lyrical about how much we like Shopify’s responsive checkout, which looks amazing on every device we’ve seen it on. However, there are a wide range of options at your disposal. The important thing is that you use a quality system and provide the right information for customers to trust you. PayPal is a great example; it’s a household name that makes your website look that much more secure.
3. Regularly Update Your Store
A neglected site/store with no activity and old information hints at a struggling or amateurish business. This doesn’t mean that you need to be churning out multiple blog posts every week, but clearly doing nothing isn’t an option.
A good way to ensure that this happens is to schedule a regular, consistent time where you work on website maintenance and creating fresh content for your site.
Blog posts and social media updates are good, but website maintenance is also very important. Keeping your inventory up to date, removing products that you’re no longer selling, fixing broken links and ensuring that your navigation is accurate will all help to minimise customer frustration and get more customers to trust your store.
If prospective customers can’t find and purchase the right products at the right time then they’re unlikely to bring their business to you.
4. Provide Clear and Accurate Contact Details
It is usually better to provide an e-mail address under the name of your business or a simple contact form built into your website as it lends an air of professionalism.
In many countries you are legally required to provide the customer with adequate contact details before they enter into the transaction, explaining how you can be contacted and what mechanisms are available if they need to get in touch with you for any reason.
We’ll be producing an overview of legal requirements for ecommerce store owners in a few weeks time.
5. Use Reviews Wisely
Testimonials can be worthwhile in getting more customers to trust your store, but a review section can be problematic. You could have a hundred five star reviews, but the raging one star review from an unreasonable customer may be the one that sticks in the reader’s mind.
You might have seen online businesses placing or purchasing fake reviews. Don’t even consider it; it’s often obvious and trading standards are on the lookout. We’ve even seen businesses getting into spam wars with their competitors, exchanging false negative reviews for false positives.
6. Tell the Story of Your Business
One of the unique characteristics of ecommerce businesses – particularly smaller ones – is that there is great value in telling the story of how you started out. In fact, you should probably go one step further than that and continue to tell the story of the business as it grows and goes through the inevitable ups and downs that we all face.
Why is this important?
Well, the first thing to say is that unless you resolve to tell your story as you go then you probably won’t. It can feel very vulnerable, particularly if you’re trying to project a professional and established image. However, if you’re doing the other things that we’re suggesting in this article then there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be completely honest about your progress.
As a small or new business you can often feel vulnerable when facing up to more established competitors. By inviting customers into your story they get the opportunity to be part of something new and exciting. It’s surprising how effective this strategy can be to help you get more customers to trust your store.
7. Actually Be Trustworthy
Obvious maybe, but presentation can only give the impression of being trustworthy. Being reliable and fair in your dealings is still the lynch-pin of trust in your business. Reply quickly to queries or complaints. Use good grammar and respectful language in your correspondence with customers. Deal promptly with deliveries and returns.
Even if you’re not meeting face to face, your customer will still develop an impression of you from your service, and people talk – and nowadays it’s not just word-of-mouth that carries your reputation. A single post on a popular forum could gain or lose you hundreds or even thousands of customers. If you want to get more customers to trust your store you’ve got to be conscientious, and it helps to look it too.
What steps are you taking to get more customers to trust your store? We’d love to hear your experiences so please do leave a comment below….
Update: What do the Experts Say?
“6, if well done – is the number one reason why I decide buy from a store or no. In regards to 7, I’m big on seeing the owner’s face on the about page. If he/she isn’t there I wonder if they are all in or not. All in = more trust.” Jonathan Kennedy from Hey Carson